TU Ilmenau Develops New Test System for Electric Vehicles

Nahaufnahme von einem Prüfstand mit Motor© TU Ilmenau/Christoph Lehne
One of the XILforEV test platforms: Test rig in Ilmenau with a wheel hub motor from the Slovenian company Elaphe.

Vehicle researchers from Technische Universität Ilmenau are presenting an innovative testing system at the international WCX SAE World Congress Experience from 13 to 15 April in Detroit, USA, which will enable electric vehicles to be developed more quickly. At the largest event of its kind in North America, thousands of participants come together each year in the motor city of Detroit to exchange the latest findings and developments in the field of technical mobility. The organizer of the WCX SAE World Congress Experience, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), was founded in 1905 by legendary vehicle manufacturer Henry Ford, among others, and today unites more than 138,000 members from the mobility technology sector worldwide.

The massive increase in demand for electric vehicles poses major challenges for the automotive industry. In addition to new battery technologies and the expansion of the charging infrastructure, vehicle components and systems - from the chassis to the engine - must be adapted or even completely redeveloped. Since modern electric vehicles are composed of components and systems with widely varying degrees of technological maturity, research is being conducted worldwide into standardized vehicle components.

In the large-scale, international research project "Connected and Shared X-in-the-loop Environment for Electric Vehicles Development (XILforEV)", which is coordinated by TU Ilmenau, scientists and engineers are developing a test system to accelerate the development of new components and systems for electric vehicles. Until the end of 2021, nine industry and research partners from six European countries will be researching an innovative X-in-the-loop test and inspection environment, i.e. a research and development platform in which all test benches and highly complex information technology are networked.

The excellent X-in-the-loop test infrastructure of the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo) is available for the research work at the TU Ilmenau, with which a wide variety of realistic conditions can be simulated. This enables the scientists to carry out virtual tests in different driving scenarios, for example to increase energy efficiency or driving safety or even driving comfort. In doing so, the scientists permanently evaluate the relevant components of the vehicle system in real time according to whether the targeted requirements for electrification and automation of new vehicle systems have been met or whether there is still a need for optimization. At the same time, the entire test system itself is repeatedly validated on the basis of the experimental data, i.e. its suitability as a test environment is checked.

vier Porträtfotos © TU Ilmenau/Chris Liebold (1)/AnLi Fotografie (2)
The Ilmenau XILforEV research team: Project leader Dr. Valentin Ivanov, Viktor Schreiber, Florian Büchner and Christoph Lehne (from left to right, top to bottom).

The ambitious goal of the research team led by the project manager of the XILforEV project, Dr. Valentin Ivanov, acting head of the Automotive Engineering Group at TU Ilmenau, is a test and inspection system that allows electric vehicles to be developed and manufactured more easily and quickly: "The vision is of complex electric vehicles that are not only reliable and safe, but also energy-efficient," says Dr. Ivanov. "Such fail-safe, internally tuned and sustainable vehicles can only be developed in a test and verification environment like XILforEV. "At the international WCX SAE World Congress, Dr Ivanov will moderate a session dedicated to EU projects on innovative vehicle concepts.

The new XILforEV test procedure developed at TU Ilmenau brings together test setups and platforms located in different places in Europe in an X-in-the-loop network. While the Ilmenau scientists at the Thuringia Innovation Center for Mobility are researching, among other things, the overall concept of X-in-the-loop technologies, the German vehicle partners Audi and EFS GmbH are working on braking systems for electric vehicles, the Slovenian company Elaphe on prime movers, the Belgian supplier Tenneco on active chassis systems, and the Spanish Instituto Technologico De Aragon (Institute of Technology of Aragon) on the development of a new test system. Instituto Technologico De Aragon at the Belgian supplier Tenneco, machine learning at the Spanish Instituto Technologico De Aragon, XIL-relevant software products at the Belgian-French partner Siemens Industry Software and the human factor at the Dutch TU Delft. The simultaneous execution of test scenarios with the aid of coupled platforms and devices makes it possible to identify correlations between the various processes much faster than if the multitude of work steps had to be carried out one after the other.

The XILforEV project is being funded by the most important European funding program, Horizon 2020, with around 3.5 million euros over three years. When it is completed at the end of this year, the world's first test platform of its kind will have been created at TU Ilmenau, which can be used to flexibly and extremely quickly test new types of powertrain and chassis systems for electric vehicles. Since both research institutions and globally active vehicle companies are working together in the XILforEV consortium, the research results can be transferred directly to industry in the future. This would benefit not only car manufacturers and suppliers, but above all the buyers of ultra-modern electric vehicles.

XILforEV Project Consortium:

  • Technische Universität Ilmenau, Coordinator (Germany).
  • Audi AG (Germany)
  • Elaphe Pogonske Tehnologije (Slovenia)
  • Elektronische Fahrwerksysteme GmbH (Germany)
  • Instituto Technologico De Aragon ITAINNOVA (Spain)
  • Siemens Industry Software (Belgium & France)
  • Technical University of Delft (Netherlands)
  • Tenneco Automotive Europe BVBA (Belgium)

For further informationabout the XILforEV project:


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824333


Dr. Valentin Ivanov
Acting Head of Automotive Engineering Group
TU Ilmenau
03677 69-3869